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Jerry, an "at-risk" young man, uses his knife as an "equalizer" to solve his frustrations stemming from his unhappy home, which is dominated by his stepmother. A group worker reaches Jerry and helps him to transcend his anger. Director: Laslo Benedek. Narrator: Richard Widmark. With Chuck Connors.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: Dudley Pictures Corp.
Sponsor: Los Angeles Community Chest (United Way)
Audio/Visual: Sd, B&W
Keywords: Juvenile delinquency; Teenagers; Psychology
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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A lot happens in this short 19 minutes. Beautifully done. The acting is great, as is Richard Widmark's narration. It handles a delicate situation with a lot of heart and seems to understand the process of trying to get on the kids' side so as to ultimately help them. The morons below who can't come up with anything better to comment upon than some (completely non-existent) sexual undertones are just like the kids in this film - cracking jokes and clowning around as an alternative to using their heads.
5 stars for this one; loved it.
Subject: Meanwhile, back on planet Earth...
This naive little drama stars Chuck Connors as "The Rifleman"...oh, no, that's not right...It's Chuck Connors as "The Social Worker"! He works to win the trust of teenage boys who are on the cusp of becoming hoodlums, especially "Jerry" whose Dad is a milquetoast, pushed around by his shrew of a wife, Jerry's step-mother, who thinks Jerry's a hopeless creep.
Oh, and Jerry has an ominous knife fetish. Gradually, Chuck Connors constant attention gets the job done, the boys form a club and elect officers!. Jerry's Dad develops a backbone and we're led to believe the boys are on their way to
becoming constructive citizens. The way Connors insinuates himself into the boys' circle, let's hope the producers of "Boys Beware" don't see this film!
Couple of notes: the narrator is Richard Widmark who made his reputation playing psychopaths and the actor who plays Jerry's little half-brother (in a non-speaking role) looks like the guy who played Eddie Haskell on "Leave It To Beaver".
I was looking around for similar films which would include the "issue" of rock and roll. It's hard to believe that there are none. After all rock n roll music was on the rise in the 50's and many people didn't like it. Any links folks?
Subject: Reading 5 year old reviews
Makes me glad that Spuzz isn't around now... or if he is, he's not reviewing much anymore. What a child. Grow up.
This was a well done educational film from the 50s. I've always enjoyed Chuck Connors, and it's refreshing to know he did something for the community.
Subject: Boy with a Knife
I have noticed throughout Archive.org that there is a lot of criticism about these films that were made in the 40's and 50's, but you have to remeber one thing, when they showed these movies in school it got us out of doing school work and sometimes we were even able to take a nap.
Subject: Boy with a Knife has a famous little brother
Check out the younger brother of the kid in this story (the "boy with the knife"). Look closely - it's Eddie Haskell, aka Ken Osmond.
Subject: Simplistic, but a try.
Well acted and directed, viewers must remember this was the 1956 generation, before drugs and a more cynical time. Perhaps the script was a bit too simplistic, but it brought out some good points.
Love thy neighbour -
Subject: In agreement
I completely agree with Steve Nordby on this subject. The guy was obviously a pervert in disguise. And he would have made a great one in Boys beware. It's a shame he wasn't in it
Steve Nordby -
Previous reviews cover the basics, so a spin: A single man with a woody (the kind you drive) befriends teenage boys, tries to recruit them to his club, invites them to a ball game, gives them food, and asks them to go swimming. A primer for the sick homos in "Boys Beware" and a shame that Chuck Conners wasn't in that one too!
Christine Hennig -
Subject: Boy with a Knife
Chuck Connors plays a social worker who helps a group of troubled, potentially delinquent boys by forming them into a club at a youth center. The "boy with a knife" is Jerry, a kid with a bitchy stepmother and a wimpy father who won't stand up to her verbal diatribes against him. Jerry takes out his rage by periodically threatening other kids with a knife, when he's not using it to carve up other people's property. When he finds out through the grapevine that his stepmother is planning to send him away to live with his grandmother, he takes out his rage by carving up all the sofa cushions into ribbons. Somehow, this makes his dad finally stand up to his stepmom. "Jerry's not going anywhere," he says to her and this totally cures Jerry of his rageÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂhe immediately goes outside and turns over his knife to Chuck. This is a well-intentioned film that makes a few valid points about delinquency, but mostly it's incredibly simplistic and cliched. Most realistic is how much time and patience it takes for Chuck to win the boys' trust, and how fragile that trust continues to be. Least realistic is the story about Jerry, especially the ending. Jerry has the classical cliched Hollywood Freudian version of a dysfunctional familyÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂbitchy stepmom, wimpy dad who doesn't wear the pants in the family (though the actress playing the stepmom does do an excellent job of making you hate her). The ending is laughably pat and unrealisticÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂin any real situation like this, you just know that carving up the sofa cushions is just the thing that will get Jerry sent away, and probably to a place a lot worse than his grandmother's. And, of course, there's an instant cureÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂmaybe the filmmakers were just running out of time after all the long sequences of Chuck's trust-building attempts. It all ends up being maddeningly unsatisfyingÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂyou want to like the film for its intentions, but it's just too much of a fantasy. For a much more realistic look at the problem of deliquency, and the "club" solution, see Ask Me, Don't Tell Me.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Subject: Very good doc!
A young Chuck Conners does a good job in this film. Sad that young Jerry has such a rotten bag for a step mother. She's lucky her couch cushions got sliced up instead of her. Jerry's pop finally grows a backbone and tells the bag what for! (Sort of) Chuck drives a cool woody wagon in this film that follows the lines of the old Dead End Kids theme. Strange how the clubs do not promote any constructive activities like auto mechanics or something, but it's a start. An excellent effort and certainly worth my download!
Subject: Boy with a knife, an annoying Stepmom, a aloof Dad, etc..
Boy with A Knife tells the story of Jerry, punk-ass kid who is growing up with the most ANNOYING mother imaginable, and a meek father. He then start hanging around other mean kids, and swinging a knife around when the time seems fit. Soon, Chuck Conners (Woo!) arrives on the scene asking the boys to join his 'club' to play games, watch movies and get off the street.
Okay acting all around, the stepmom actress just chews the scenery though.
Finally, am I wrong, or is this film subtly homo-erotic? Especially the end (watch Chuck Connors in the car (was he really wanting the knife?)